Fitness/leisure centre manager

Tends to every aspect of the day-to-day running of fitness and leisure centres, both as a service and as a business.

The leisure industry is dynamic and fast-moving and the nature of career opportunities in the industry is changing and growing rapidly.

Fitness and leisure centre managers ensure that customers have the best possible experience and are responsible for the efficient day-to-day control of all the centre’s activities ranging from HR to marketing. They tend to every aspect of the day-to-day running of fitness and leisure centres, both as a service and as a business. Duties include managing staff recruitment and training, dealing with fitness provision and ensuring that health and safety standards are met.

While dealing with all kinds of issues form recruitment, right across to the profit and loss accountability of the centre, customer service and health and safety are top priorities.

Work activities

  • Providing leadership across all aspects of the centre.
  • Ensuring compliance with health, safety and legal requirements.

  • Hiring and training team members and ensuring their development.
  • Budgeting, managing cash and other financial management.
  • Advertising and marketing activities.
  • Purchasing materials and equipment.
  • Organising competitions and events.

Work conditions

Travel: during the working day unlikely unless managing a chain of centres.
Working hours: can involve unsocial hours including evenings, weekends and public holidays.
Location: while openings can be found in hotel leisure centres located in rural areas, opportunities exist mainly in towns and cities and throughout the country.
Opportunities for self employment: unlikely but possible to open own gym/leisure centre.

Typical employers

  • Local authorities
  • Schools and universities
  • Gyms and leisure centres
  • Theme parks
  • Sports clubs
  • Hotel leisure centres
  • Holiday parks.

Career development

Progression to general management and group management functions within leisure organisations is possible as well as developing careers as: consultants and project managers; event organisers; facility managers; personal trainers; sport and leisure development officers with local authorities; national governing bodies; and educational institutions.


Salaries vary depending on experience and employing organisation.

Specific degree subjects requireed

Open to non-graduates and graduates of any discipline. However, an Further or Higher Education qualification in a related area is a valuable asset as it combines business and management expertise with physical abilities.

People often start off as coaches or instructors and are then promoted to management roles when they have sufficient experience.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Hospitality management
  • Hotel and leisure management
  • Hotel management
  • Leisure management
  • Management
  • Physical education
  • Sports management
  • Sports science.

Postgraduate study

A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not a requirement.

Specific entry requirements

Previous management experience and an interest in leisure activities especially sports and fitness is a distinct advantage.


Mainly in-house and on the job though most courses have a placement period incorporated.

Tips for applications

Gain practical experience in sports instruction and coaching, as well as lifesaving and first aid training.

Skills and qualities

  • Good communication, interpersonal and customer service skills.
  • Good business acumen.
  • Dynamic and hands-on.
  • Excellent organisational skills and the ability to multi-task.
  • Ability to lead, delegate and motivate staff.
  • Excellent IT skills.
  • Ability to keep calm in emergencies and when dealing with difficult customers.